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Autor:   •  November 14, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,218 Words (5 Pages)  •  192 Views

Page 1 of 5

Lawrence Volbidkaht

Paper One


People spend so much time talking but humanity doesn’t spend enough time analyzing what the words mean and why they’re being said. Our words have meanings and implications often deeper than what appears at the surface. The first person to analyze this was the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, who Is widely regarded to as the father of rhetoric. Rhetoric can be defined as the art of persuasion, an art that if mastered, can be a weapon more powerful than any physical damage one could do. Rhetoric is the weapon of common people. People achieve their day to day tasks by the use of persuasion, persuading people to do things, to act a certain way, to get things you want. Aristotle’s analysis of rhetoric was way before his time and has withstood the testament of developing societies and technologies. Aristotle lists 4 reasons on why rhetoric is so useful, the first  “because things that are true and things that are just have a natural tendency to prevail over their opposites, so that if the decisions of judges are not what they ought to be, the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be blamed accordingly.” (Aristotle Book 1). This is true because you can usually tell when someone is manipulating the truth, but a good manipulator keeps it under the wraps.  And a good speaker can always manipulate his audience into believing him by using pathos or ethos. Since this all holds true, the outcome of the message is directly on the shoulders of the speaker.  The next reason stated is “before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.” (Aristotle Book 1). Not everyone is informed and knows what a speaker is referring to. If a speaker is controlling the flow of knowledge and choosing what he/she wants them to know, the truth is just their version of the truth. A good speaker will give only the truths that reinforce his arguments while presenting a solid counter argument to level all doubts. Here, Aristotle also sheds light on the fact that sometimes, there is nothing you can do to convince someone of something. The next thing Aristotle goes on to say is “we must be able to employ persuasion, just as strict reasoning can be employed, on opposite sides of a question, not in order that we may in practice employ it in both ways (for we must not make people believe what is wrong), but in order that we may see clearly what the facts are, and that, if another man argues unfairly, we on our part may be able to confute him. No other of the arts draws opposite conclusions: dialectic and rhetoric alone do this.” (Aristotle Book 1). Aristotle is essentially stating that sometimes persuasion is a stronger tool than logic and reason. Logic and reason rarely ever fail unless their is faulty logic. But not every situation can be dealt with logic. Sometimes the realities of logic are too harsh and people need to look to something to shield and protect them from the truth and that is a perfect scenario of when persuasion could be a weapon. Although logos is often the more reliable method, pathos tied in with strong rhetoric will not fail in the right situation. Not everyone wants to sit there and think about the facts because sometimes the facts are too grim, too harsh, too unfortunate, or just don’t make sense so people turn to faith. People turn to hope. And in order to have hope, one must be persuaded that there is something worth having faith in. Aristotle’s final point is “it is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. And if it be objected that one who uses such power of speech unjustly might do great harm, that is a charge which may be made in common against all good things except virtue, and above all against the things that are most useful, as strength, health, wealth, generalship. A man can confer the greatest of benefits by a right use of these, and inflict the greatest of injuries by using them wrongly.” (Aristotle Book 1). Aristotle here delves into the impact and power that words have and here instills the belief that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword a mere thousand years before the saying was coined. In a barbaric world where strength was often portrayed in grand physical displays, Aristotle challenges those and says anyone can fight physically but few are educated and wise enough to argue against logic. Aristotle believes that words are more important than actions. It is easy to see why he believes so because actions are manipulated by words and thoughts. If someone is giving you a constant chain of rhetoric that makes sense and flows well, that will directly change the way you act. An example of powerful rhetoric being used the wrong way is with the Nazi Regime in World War Two Europe. Germany prior to Adolf Hitler was war torn and poor, stuck in heavy debts following the previous World War. Adolf Hitler stepped in and through his powerful speeches and rallies convinced people that Nazism was not only the right belief, but the most superior beliefs. Hitler used words to convince people he was looking for their best interests and in turn, was able to pull off his agenda of mass genocide. But many of these people didn’t know what was going on. The citizens of Germany were under the belief that this man was truly going to drag them out of the gutter. This is one of the most famous examples but not the only one of men abusing rhetoric to their advantage. However men such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi are famous examples of how rhetoric can be used as a positive weapon. These men rallied people with their electrifying speeches and put them into a world of progress and forward thinking, with ideas of peace and equality stemming from them. These are the men who had most certainly paid attention to the benefit of ethos, pathos, and logos in their classes. In conclusion, it is rather evident to see the impact that words can retain in a society. Ideas that were formed by men who roamed the Earth a thousand years ago in a much simpler time still apply to most scenarios today. Persuasion is a tool that if used correctly can make people believe without explanation. If tied in with proper logic, persuasion is practically unstoppable. A speaker controls the facts that are coming towards his audience and it is important to recognize the weight of that because dangerous things can happen when someone uses good rhetoric for bad intentions. And all of these conclusions and ideas and whatnot were thought of 300 years before the death of Christ.


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